A boy's chance encounter with a scruffy dog leads to an unforgettable friendship in this deeply moving story about life, loss and the meaning of family. Ben Coffin has never felt like he fits in. A former foster kid, he keeps his head down at school to avoid bullies and spends his afternoons reading sci-fi books at the library. But all that changes when he finds a scruffy abandoned dog named Flip and befriends the librarian's daughter, Halley.
For the first time, Ben starts to feel like he belongs in his own life. Then everything changes, and suddenly Ben is more alone than ever. But with a little help from Halley's magician father, Ben discovers his place in the world and learns to see his own magic through others' eyes. Equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming, When Friendship Followed Me Home is a must-read for dog lovers and fans of emotionally resonant middle-grade novels.
About the Author
Paul began writing his first novel as he finished college, in 1988. That novel and many others went unpublished. Meanwhile, he worked on the truck docks and in construction, as a dog trainer and driver, teacher, tutor, EMT, butler, bartender, waiter, cook and dishwasher (alongside Vin Diesel). The hardest and best work was the teaching. Paul started working with at-risk, incarcerated and special needs teens in 1989, with a concentration in conflict resolution workshops aimed at stemming the spread of violence, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among young adults.
These days his workshops focus on helping young men and women tell their life stories as they reach out to counselors, judges, admissions officers and potential employers. Twenty years to the day after Paul graduated Dartmouth, Penguin/Dial released his “first” novel Ten Mile River, then The Orange Houses a year later and then Stay With Me in 2011. Dial is publishing Burning Blue, a mystery, in 2012 and a fifth book, tentatively a sci-fi romance, in 2013. Paul lives in Washington Heights, NYC with three dogs and one wife, documentary moviemaker Risa Morimoto.
'Griffin gracefully answers and solves mysteries, leaving us with hope and a smile without making things falsely shiny and bright.'
* New York Times *
'Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart. Paul Griffin is the sort of writer you're torn between telling the whole world about and keeping all to yourself.' -- Marcus Zusak
`Friendship is an absolutely beautiful, heart-expanding book. I cried, but more than that I felt this giant balloon of love for everyone. This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life's biggest magic. It'll make you want to grab hold of everyone important to you and lick them on the nose.' * Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me *
'Some books change the way you see the world. Some change the way you breathe. This book will leave you breathless. This is Paul Griffin's best book yet-and that's really saying something.' * Patricia McCormick, author of Sold, National Book Award Finalist *
`When Friendship Followed Me Home is both a beautiful book, and an honest book; it is, in fact, beautiful because it is honest. We see the pain of loss and the glory of community. We see love in its many forms, and we witness the truth that love goes on despite all barriers. Cheer for Ben and Halley: it is kids like these who are our hope.' * Gary D. Schmidt, author to Okay for Now *
`Those familiar with Griffin's books for teens know that Kleenex may be needed to successfully navigate this wrenching journey, which breathes fresh, warm life into what might have been an overworked cliche. Entrancing, magical, tragic, and uplifting.' * STARRED Review, Kirkus *
`As in his young adult books, Griffin handles hard topics with penetrating insight and honesty, while balancing painful moments (and there are many) with levity...Ben wrestles with big questions in relatable, realistic ways, and his huge heart and optimism will win over even the most hardened skeptics.' * STARRED Review, Publishers Weekly *
`[A] bittersweet, well-paced book...left me with faith that people can feel discarded, as though everything they love will be taken from them, and still end up whole, if they are touched by love of friendship.' * New York Times Book Review *
`Griffin writes beautifully about family, friendship, belonging, and loss in a story that is sure to leave every reader with at least a tear in his or her eye, if not a pile of soggy tissues.' * Examiner *
`Even hardened readers will find it impossible to keep a dry eye.' * BookPage *
`Surely a kid like Ben earns top honors in the life-is-hard Olympics. Yet this bittersweet, well-paced book is not depressing. It left me with faith that people can feel discarded, as though everything they love will be taken from them, and still end up whole, if they are touched by love and friendship.' * New York Times *
`[A] luminous, empathetic novel.' * Australian *
`When Friendship Followed Me Home is an incredibly poignant yet beautiful middle grade read that proves even in the darkest moments throughout our lives, someone is always willing to leave the light on...I loved each and every moment.' * Diva Booknerd *
`Read it for Ben who is one of the best written and most real kids I've read all year. Then read it again for Halley, and again for Flip, and Tess, and Tess's wife, Laura, who only ever appears as a photo but still has such a strong presence. Paul Griffin is now one of my new favourite authors.' * Readings *
`Life has more than one tragedy in store for Ben and corresponding heart-tugging moments for the reader, but the boy's openness, warmth and resilience commend him to a readership far wider than the mid-primary age-group for whom the novel is so tenderly designed.' * Adelaide Advertiser *
`Think The Fault in Our Stars tenderly modulated for 10-year-olds: Paul Griffin's first novel for middle-primary readers tackles some of the deepest and darkest moments in life with practical sensitivity and a heart-warming cast of characters...The writing is fluid, the chapters generally short, the ending uplifting-a great, heart-tugging, affirming read for the mid primary age-group and well beyond.' * Magpies *
'Featuring a cast of unforgettable characters - including the adorable dog! - this book is funny, weird, happy and sad all at the same time.' * Mania Magazine *
`This middle grade book is freakin' adorable and heartbreaking, uplifting and uproarious!' * Alpha Reader *
`A gem of a book about a boy whose resilient spirit triumphs over everything life tosses his way.' * Best Books for Kids 2016, Listener *
`This book is special. It's a beautifully written middle grade novel.' * Reading Time *
`Griffin manages to show the resilience and vulnerability of kids in equal measure. He refuses to sugar-coat the bad things that can happen in life, and demonstrates the ways in which people can let each other down. Despite (or because of this) it offers young readers the tools and optimism to feel confident and informed when faced with tough times...funny, sweet and devastating.' -- Leanne Hall * Readings *